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Comment Re: More of a party trick than brain improvement (Score 1) 190

It's extremely applicable for learning languages.

Have you personally used it for that? By my understanding of the technique, it helps you to memorize arbitrary lists of things, which is relevant to memorizing a story, or random digits of pi, or an arbitrary list of nouns. But nowhere do I see that you're capturing actual semantics or a working knowledge of these items, and in fact I could imagine it being counterproductive, because what you're really trying to do is create a bunch of arbitrary but creative and memorable associations with the list items. Which is inherently different than trying to learn the meaning of the items in question.

Anyhow, I'm legitimately curious, but that's the state of the research on this topic as I understand it (and most brain training research, to be honest) - you can certainly get better at any skill through practice, but it's not clear at all that any of those abilities are transferable. The onus is on the researchers to show that getting good at memorizing the order of a list has anything to do with cognition in day-to-day, practical matters. With enough effort I could learn to recite a list of 1000 words in Russian, but that wouldn't mean that I understood their meaning, proper syntactical usage, conjugation, or anything involved with using them effectively in conversation.

At the end of the day, this makes you good at memorizing and reciting long, random lists. That's not what learning a language is about, and it's not something that anybody really needs to do very often. In those cases where it is useful (think of the alphabet), we already have mnemonic devices established to help us out. And maybe there is some subset of people for whom memorizing the order of the periodic table would be really useful, or things like that, and it does sound like a good technique for students - but it's been in question for a while whether that kind of testing is actually a good evaluation of a student's real handle on the material. Rote memorization is just a very, very narrow application of the human mind's capabilities. Working memory seems to be much more broadly applicable, and even there it's an open question whether training really ends up being transferable in a useful way.

Comment More of a party trick than brain improvement (Score 2) 190

Subject says it all. Sure, if you want to be able to recite the Iliad around a campfire just like Homer, then spend hours a day practicing this technique and eventually you'll be able to do it. But you still need to put in the work for every additional item you want to remember, and that just isn't worth it for a lot of things. It's more of a curiosity than a widely applicable skill.

Comment Re:Duh? (Score 1) 644

Anything that increases productivity raises output, and therefore value, of the people producing. You'd expect that to make them richer.

That was the naive expectation in the early 1900's that caused people to project a 3-hour work week by 2000. They weren't wrong about productivity increases, but they forgot to factor in the tendency of the rich to hoard the fruits of that progress for themselves.

Comment Re:Help them leave (Score 1) 251

Part 1, pure hyperbole and Bullshit. If there is illegal activity due process will find it and prosecute it, and the Constitution provides the presumption of innocence. Leftists wanted that for their candidate.

Ok... so how is a desire to shut down the free press and a pattern of overt religious discrimination at all compatible with the first amendment? All you have to do is listen to Trump himself to see that he's outright hostile to many provisions of the Bill of Rights. By supporting Trump, the right has lost whatever credibility they once had with regard to being the party that respected the constitution. Under his leadership they are fast becoming authoritarians rather than conservatives.

Your Pelosi quote doesn't mean what you seem to think it means. No democrat has ever said that illegal immigrants cannot commit crimes. It's also frankly ludicrous to see this narrative that immigrants are somehow more crime-prone than any other citizen. The actual data suggests the opposite. Sure, there are serial killers that are immigrants. There are also serial killers that are citizens. The tendency towards violent crime is completely orthogonal to immigrant status, and only fearmongers trying to push a nationalist agenda will tell you otherwise.

Trump himself declared his intent for "a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on." It's a Muslim ban. Stop changing the facts. The whole thing is unconstitutional, and if you are going to claim this is ok, then you should just be honest that you want to abolish the first amendment protections of religion and make Christianity a state-sanctioned religion. That's reprehensible, but at least you'd be consistent then, rather than trying to pretend you give a shit about the constitution while simultaneously defending flagrant abuses by DJT.

Look at the facts on the ACA - it hasn't had a meaningful impact one way or the other on healthcare costs, but it has had a meaningful impact on uninsured numbers. Get away from anecdotes and partisan opinion pieces, look at data, and that's the only conclusion that can be made. It isn't the raging success that Democrats would like to take credit for, but it isn't the sole cause of our problems as Fox News has been claiming for the last several years. Many Republicans actually support the provision that allows coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, and some of the law's other aspects. Sure, health care costs are increasing, but who is at fault for that? Those who are refusing to do anything. Look at the numbers since 1960 and you'll see that our recent problem are just the culmination of a trend that's been building for a long, long time:

Healthcare is the single biggest economic issue facing the country right now. Wages generally grow linearly, at least on the scale of human lifetimes, but it's plain as day from that chart that healthcare costs are growing quadratically. This is a real, systemic problem, not just another political football, and people's lives and livelihoods are at stake.

The Democrats are in the minority. They literally have control over no branch of the government right now, so I'm not sure why it's even worth complaining about them. Instead, you should be looking to these Republicans who are so full of promises to actually follow through because they hold all the cards - but they've been playing opposition politics for so long that I'm doubtful that they will get anything meaningful done to address our real problems. I would love to be proven wrong.

Comment Re:Help them leave (Score 1) 251

Yes, the Republicans were obstructionist. The Dems are currently being obstructionist. We're agreed on both these points, right?

I certainly think both sides are willing to dig their heels in and seek to spin every new event in the way that is most favorable for them. That said, I think there's a big difference in degree.

Comment Re:Help them leave (Score 2) 251

They don't hold a candle to the obstructionism of the right:

John Boehner offering his plans for Obama’s agenda: “We're going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.”

Mitch McConnell: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

If that's not putting political aims above the good of the country, I don't know what is.

Comment Re:Help them leave (Score 1) 251

Lets start with the declarations of impeachment that began back in November. How about the constant claims of racism, discrimination, islamaphobic, homophobic, xenophobic, and that anyone that does agree with their Leftism is one or all of those things.

To be fair, Trump's conflicts of interest, quantity of lawsuits, and anti-constitutional goals are all hugely concerning to anybody, or at least ought to be. Bill Clinton was vilified (and eventually impeached) for sexual behavior that doesn't even make the top 10 list for Trump's antics.

How about the claims that illegal immigrants are not, and can not be, criminals and that the American people must not only welcome criminals but transfer wealth to them.

Citation needed. I have never seen a claim that illegal immigrants can not be criminals. And Democrats haven't changed policy in the last several months over the period of time that their behavior is "driving people away". Their immigration policy is essentially similar to what it's been for the last decade.

How about the false claim that the moratorium on immigration was a "Muslim" ban

What was the basis of the ban then? Trump and his administration have explicitly stated that they prefer to help Christians. No refugees or immigrants from these countries have killed Americans with terrorist acts... the same cannot be said for many other countries that were not on the ban. Trump stated on the campaign trail that he wanted to ban Muslims from immigrating. The onus is on you to show that this ban had a basis in anything beyond religious discrimination.

How about them fighting against changes to the ACA even while the ACA has harmed far more Americans than it helped, with premiums up so far that middle class people can't pay, and deductibles going from on average 500/1000 to 5000/10000 for citizens.

Citation needed. The rate of increase in insurance premiums has not been substantially changed by the ACA, upwards OR downwards. It has, however, had a massive impact on uninsured numbers. And note: Trump himself has backpedaled on plans to repeal the ACA. Democrats have generally been willing to accept improvements to the law but are opposed to attempts to repeal. Compare that to Republicans, who were unwilling to work with Obama to improve the ACA because it might have made him look good.

The Democratic party has become the party of identity politics.

I don't think the Democrats are perfect, and I think this is a reasonable criticism. The way to fix their issue (and most of the problems they really care about) is with a populist economic platform focused directly at the middle and lower class, which is what got Bernie so far in the primaries. And ultimately, that's what got Trump elected. Again though, nothing new here - that's been their schtick for a while.

Overall, it sounds like you've been watching a lot of Fox News and reading a lot of Brietbart. Find something centrist to read, examine everything critically (especially the news that you WANT to agree with, which is when it is easiest to be deceived) and you will have a much clearer picture of our situation. The Democrats are being relatively cooperative, all things considered. Mitch McConnell was very explicit about his intent to oppose Obama in all things, whether they were good for the country or not, just to make sure he was seen as a failure. Democrats have said nothing of the sort.

Comment Re:Help them leave (Score 1) 251

The Democrats have voted in favor of many appointments, but it's pretty clear thanks to the issues with Flynn that extended questioning is warranted - Trump has been appointing people with dubious backgrounds, lackluster credentials, potential conflicts of interest, foreign ties, and extreme ideologies. In those cases, it's appropriate for Democrats and Republicans to scrutinize and possibly reject his appointments. But in the case when he appoints someone who is actually qualified (General Mattis, for instance) then there isn't any great difficulty getting the job done.

Comment Re:Help them leave (Score 1) 251

The behavior of the Democratic party for the last several months has pushed every single one of them away. The current behavior has turned them into enemies of the Democratic party. That sentiment is being echoed across the country as they continue to try and destroy the current Administration.

Honest question: what behavior are you talking about? Many, many democrats have stated that they are willing to work with the new administration on areas of common ground. Many democrats have voted in favor of Trump's cabinet appointments.

So far, they've been positively cooperative compared to the obstructionist tactics of the Republicans during the Obama administration. Sure, Democrats have criticized Trump on his unconstitutional or poorly conceived orders and statements (as have Republicans) - why is that a problem?

Comment Re:Falcon Heavy = 54t payload, SLS = 130t (Score 1) 195

Yeah, who needs SLS?! Except for the folks that have to get more than the 54,400 kg that Falcon Heavy is capable of:

That's exactly the question. As it is, there are limited scenarios that call for such a beast - look at NASA's struggles filling up a manifest for SLS. Nobody can afford to buy a ride on SLS because it's so expensive, and the only people that could theoretically afford it (NASA themselves) have a budget that is currently being totally eaten up by... SLS. The very fact that NASA is burdened with SLS means that they can't afford to use it.

It's worth noting as well that the first iteration of SLS will be able to lift 70 tons, not 130. Falcon Heavy's 54 compares much more favorably there. Sure, SLS will eventually be able to lift 130 tons, but ITS will eventually be able to lift 300-550 tons. It's powerpoint rocket vs powerpoint rocket. The important thing is to make the right decision with the technology that's available NOW, and based on that (or at least what will be online in 2018) nobody in their right mind would pay for SLS when they could get 75% of the capability for 1% of the cost on Falcon Heavy. Even if we generously ignore development costs and focus only on the claimed per-flight SLS cost of $500mil, Falcon Heavy is still far better in terms of $/kg to LEO.

If NASA really wanted to start getting things done, they would start treating LEO access as a commodity service and procure it purely through the COTS program. Then they could focus on pushing the envelope - use that cheap lift capability to build up a Mars cycler, or a sustained Lunar presence, or further develop on-orbit manufacturing capabilities. They could get 10x as much science done and actually get back to developing new tech, rather than recycling the ideas of the past.

Comment Re:Lottery? (Score 1) 195

Run one yourself. From the sounds of it SpaceX has sold these seats to private individuals - there's nothing preventing you or anybody from creating a company and associated lottery where people can buy $100 tickets... if you get a million people to participate then it pays for a seat. That's the beauty of private space access. ;)

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